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Sluggish summers slow business

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013

Updated: Friday, April 26, 2013 12:04

With summer fast approaching, many local businesses are anticipating a drop in patronage as Miami University students leave town.

Alan Kyger, Oxford’s director of economic development, said Miami students make up a hefty percentage of the town during the academic year, comparing approximately 22,000 full-time residents to roughly 16,000 students. Consequently, students are often the main patrons of Oxford businesses during the school year, according to Kyger.

“It really depends on the type of business…some are less affected by student trade, but there definitely is a major impact on trade during the summer,” Kyger said.

Oxford experiences slowdowns when the students are not here, typically during the summer and between first and second semester, according to Kyger.

Kyger said he was not aware of any Oxford shops or restaurants that completely shut down during the summer months, although business might be slower depending on the type of venue. For example, Oxford’s bars are generally emptier during the summer.

“Oxford is the opposite of a resort town,” Kyger said. “The summer months can be tough months [for businesses].”

However, with less student-traffic when school is not in session, parking is more available and shops Uptown are less crowded.

“Some businesses, like B-Dubs, for example, can see more business from townspeople into the summer…it’s a totally different town in the summer,” Kyger said.

The slowest part of the year is often at the end of July and into early August as summer sessions wrap up and Oxford families leave for end-of-summer vacations, according to Kyger.

Oxford’s recently-opened T.J. Maxx is another store that will likely see a reduction in numbers as students head home at the conclusion of the semester.

T.J. Maxx, located at 550 S. Locust St., had its grand opening April 14. According to store manager Antwan Isaac, the turnout was much larger than expected.

“It seemed like half of Oxford was there,” Isaac said. “We had a lot more [people] than we had planned.”

Since the opening, the store has been experiencing mostly continuous patronage, Isaac said.

The store also employs a number of Miami students, but the summer months are not expected to be too detrimental to the store’s operation.

“With students out, yes, it will be slower, but I think we’ll still do fine,” Isaac said.

Miami senior Anna Zwegat, who returns several weeks early before the fall semester for marching band practices, agreed with Kyger’s sentiment that the town is much quieter during the summer months.

“There’s no one here, and it’s not crowded at all,” Zwegat said. “You feel like you have the place to yourself. During the school year, [Uptown] is really busy, and during the summer it’s not.”

Senior Emily Mossler said she has experienced things like shorter business hours during the summer as well.

“I remember we went to SoHi once on a Thursday night around six, and it was closed,” Mossler said. “The town just sounds pretty dead. The bars are deserted…it can be fun, but it’s a lot emptier.”

Still, the slower months can be welcome to some businesses, Kyger said.

“A lot of Oxford businesses are family-run, and they need a break,” Kyger said.

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